Tag Archive | zouave

Combat Gallery Sunday: Le porte-drapeau de l’Armée

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday: Le porte-drapeau de l’Armée

Jean-Baptiste Édouard Detaille was born in Paris in 1848, notably while Charles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte was President and before the aforementioned leader seized power and proclaimed himself Napoleon III, the sole emperor of the Second French Empire.

Detaille, using family connections that dated back to the original Napoleon, studied with noted military painter Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier in the 1860s and traveled abroad to North Africa and the Mediterranean in his late teens, which helped influence his later work.

Detalille himself had served during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, as a young man, in the 8e Bataillon d’Infanterie Mobile, later attached to the staff of Gen, Auguste-Alexandre Ducrot, commander of the 2e Armee in defense of Paris. So you could say that the artist knew something of what he painted.

A mounted officer, 1877, via the Art Institute of Chicago

His two-volume/150 plate “L’Armee Francaise. Types et Uniformes,” published in 1885 (Paris, Boussod, Valson et Cie,) on Japanese paper, is an epic work of 19th Century uniforms. Many of these images come from that volume.

L’armée française – 1.er volume by Édouard Detaille vol 1 title page showing the old Napoleanic Army meeting the 1880s modern French infantry Credit line: (c) Royal Academy of Arts

Officier Indigene de Tirailleurs Algeriens

Sapeurs du Génie Tenue de Campagne

Grenadier de la Garde Impériale Rezonville, 1870

Hussards (Hussars)

French Carabiniers, 1806

French Ecole Spéciale Militaire, 1885

French Chasseur a Cheval

French cavalry

French campement de Zouaves, 1886

Etat-major d’un général de division

French hussards de l’Armée du Rhine, 1790s

Fantasia de Spahis

‘Officier de dragons.’; Édouard Detaille, Types et uniformes : l’armée française, https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/art-artists/work-of-art/O27687
Credit line: (c) Royal Academy of Arts

French Tirailleurs Indigènes Grande Tenue

The Defense of Champigny during the Battle of Villiers, 1870. In the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. MET DT259753

click to bigup

Le rêve (The Dream), above, by Edouard Detaille, painted in 1888, depicts French soldiers asleep in their camp with the first rays of dawn on the horizon. These young conscripts of the Third Republic are seen during summer maneuvers, probably Champagne, at the time it painted. They dream of the glory of the Grand Armee of Napoleon, then of taking revenge for the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. This was one of the most popular propaganda pieces of the interwar period between 1871-1914 in France and indirectly helped stir the pot on WWI. It is currently at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

After the Russo-French Rapprochement in 1891, he took to covering the uniforms of the Republic’s newfound allies.

Carabiniers à Cheval en Russie, 1893

The Cossacks of the Imperial Russian Guard

He was busy working on uniform images right up until his last days.

Test uniforms created in 1912 by Édouard Detaille for the French line infantry. From left to right : trumpet in parade uniform, private in service uniform and kepi, private 1st class in parade uniform, private in service uniform and leather helmet, officer in parade uniform, officer in service uniform and bonnet de police (side cap), private in field uniform and leather helmet, private in field uniform and kepi. Via Musée de l’Armée/Wiki.

The artist died in 1912 in Paris, aged 64, only months before The Guns of August forever removed all of the romantic notions of beautiful uniforms with red trousers and shiny cuirasses from warfare.

Thank you for your work, sir.

The briefly loved and beautiful zouave uniform

Print shows a French zouave in 1853, wearing uniform and holding rifle, on cigarette card issued by Kinney Tobacco Company as an insert with the Sweet Caporal brand cigarettes.

Print shows a French Zouave in 1853, wearing the uniform and holding a rifle, on cigarette card issued by Kinney Tobacco Company as an insert with the Sweet Caporal brand cigarettes.

When the French went into Algeria in the 1830s, they encountered the Zouaoua people, a Berber tribe along the Djurdjura mountains. Allying with these tough mountain people when possible, metropolitan French officers fell in amour with their costume of flowing colorful breeches, short jackets, turbans or fez, and capes– soon borrowing these for locally raised troops and even for European units.

By the Crimean War, French Zouave units were engaged in combat and, being the first modern European conflict since 1815, caught the imagination of those who were military minded on the other side of the Atlantic.

A French cantinière attached to a Zouave regiment during the Crimean War, 1855 - photo by Roger Fenton

A French cantinière attached to a Zouave regiment during the Crimean War, 1855 – photo by Roger Fenton

Zouave of the 2nd French Zouave Regiment poses with battle standard after the Battle of Solferino, 1859

Zouave of the 2nd French Zouave Regiment poses with battle standard after the Battle of Solferino, 1859

By the 1850s many fashionable “marching units” of militia in the U.S. were patterned on Zouave gear which led to an explosion of units on both sides of the Civil War.

Zouaves of Company G, 114th Pennsylvania Infantry. Petersburg, Virginia.

Zouaves of Company G, 114th Pennsylvania Infantry. Petersburg, Virginia.

Louisianian Tiger by Pierre Albert Leroux

Louisiana Tiger by Pierre Albert Leroux

Zouave de la Louisiane - Pierre Albert Leroux

Zouave de la Louisiane – Pierre Albert Leroux

Sergeant Henry G. Lillibridge of Co. H, 10th Rhode Island Infantry Regiment, in zouave uniform with saber bayoneted rifle

Sergeant Henry G. Lillibridge of Co. H, 10th Rhode Island Infantry Regiment, in Zouave uniform with saber bayoneted rifle

Manhattan Rifles recruiting poster, 1862

Manhattan Rifles recruiting poster, 1862

Colls Zouaves

Colls Zouaves

An unknown private, supposedly with the 114th Pennsylvania (Collis Zouaves)

An unknown private, supposedly with the 114th Pennsylvania (Collis Zouaves)

It wasn’t just in the U.S, North Africa, and France that the Zouaves caught on. During the 1863 Polish Uprising against the Tsar, there was a unit of black-robed Death Zouaves in the free Pole forces.

How cool is a name like the Zouaves of Death?

How cool is a name like the Zouaves of Death?

Even Van Gough himself painted a series of Zouave portraits in the 1880s after he observed a number of officers and men nearby in garrison. They have become some of his most interesting and well-loved works.

Zouaves, as interpreted through the eye and hand of Van Gough

The French, for their part, maintained Zouave units, especially among North African troops, into the 1960s. While forces in other countries were very popular until as late as the early 1900s.

1888 French Zouave

1888 French Zouave

111-SC-74974 French Zouaves during the Chinese Relief Expedition (Boxer Rebellion), 1900

French colonial Zouaves on maneuvers with M1886 Lebel rifles, in 1909

French colonial Zouaves on maneuvers with M1886 Lebel rifles, in 1909

Posed shot of french zouaves firing hotchkiss machinegun note the assistant gunnner catching brass in canvas feedbucket

Posed shot of French Zouaves firing Hotchkiss machine gun note the assistant gunner catching brass in a canvas feed bucket

Autochrome of a French Zouave eating a meal, Valbonne, 1913. He is wearing medals for service in Tunisia and Morocco

Autochrome of a French Zouave eating a meal, Valbonne, 1913. He is wearing medals for service in Tunisia and Morocco

Zouaves in 1865-1870, Charles-Edouard Armand-Dumaresq, around 1880 French uniform units did not disband until 1962

French Zouaves during the early days of WW1 postcard

French Zouaves during the early days of WW1 postcard

Evolution of Zouave dress from 1830 to 1955

Evolution of Zouave dress from 1830 to 1955

Today, North African countries, to include Morocco and Algeria, still maintain Zouave influence in certain dress uniforms while the Italian Bersaglieri, with a lineage of service that included Libya and Tunisia as well as Spanish paramilitary Regulares assigned to the country’s legacy enclaves of Céuta and Melilla, retain red fezes.

Italian soldiers stand guard at Chiaiano cave a quarter of Naples on 10 July 2008. The cave was declared by the Italian government a military zone and is to become the site for a new rubbish dump. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, elected in April, promised to resolve the overall rubbish crisis in three years, and his conservative government has begun opening 10 new dumps under military guard in the region. AFP PHOTO / FRANCESCO PISCHETOLA

Italian soldiers stand guard at Chiaiano cave a quarter of Naples on 10 July 2008.  AFP PHOTO / FRANCESCO PISCHETOLA

North African deployed Spanish Regulares

North African-deployed Spanish Regulares

And of course, there is always the Zig Zag guy.

The Library of Congress has more than 270 vintage Zouave images online covering not only U.S./Confederate units but also French, Brazilian and Ottoman troops.

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